Brand Planning Starts with the “Is-Does.”


Noah Brier once asked me “How do you define a brand plan?”  Everyone, he suggested, has a different view of what a brand plan is.  My ability to answer in a few words with a simple explanation impressed (I think). A brand plan is really just an organizing principle. In order to create a good brand plan, one must first get the Is-Does right.  What a brand IS and what it DOES. The Is-Does is one of the easiest and at the same time hardest exercises known to marketers. For instance, is the iPhone a phone?

Technology companies have a terrible time with the Is-Does. Here’s an Is-Does example from a website:

A global provider of digital advertising technology solutions that optimize the use of media, creative and data for enhanced performance.

Try explaining that to your great aunt.  

A video on the same website, presumably created by someone with agency chops, refers to the company this way “A global leader in digital advertising campaign management.” Much better, no? 

What Makes a Good Is-Does?

The litmus of a good Is-Does is its ability to be played back by consumers. Ask a consumer what your brand Is and what it Does and they should be in the neighborhood.  If they have to use a competing brand to define you, that’s not good.  And here’s a tip, don’t put words like “solution provider” in the Is-Does or use marketing poesy or made-up concepts.

If you have some really bad Is-Does examples (usually found on the boiler plate of press releases or the first sentence of the About section of a website) please post in the comments.

 My Is-Does? Marketing Consultant (Is) that helps companies find powerful, sales driving brand strategies (Does).  What is your company’s Is-Does? Peace!